The ripened seeds must be dried before storing. The viable seeds are either dark brown or black, and are rounded on three sides with an indent on the fourth, similar to the shape of a kidney. Discard seeds that are misshapen or off color. Broken seeds should also be discarded. You can lay the seeds on a drying screen or paper towels to dry. After the seeds have dried completely, they should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
The datura seed pod turns from green to brown as it ripens and matures. The outside becomes brittle. Once the pods are ripe, a crack develops. This is the time when the pod should be collected from the plant. If the pod is left on the vine, it will split into three or four sections and broadcast the seeds in a wide area around the parent plant. It is difficult to gather the seeds once the pod has opened.
When the flower of the datura plant fades, a seed pod starts to form. Sometimes referred to as the fruit of the plant, the seed pod resembles a burr because of the spiny texture of the outer covering. The seed pods are about the size of a walnut and can contain over 100 seeds. The plant produces many seed pods during the growing season. You can control the spread of the plant by picking the seed pods while they are still green and disposing of the pod. The unripened seeds will not germinate.
Gathering Seed Pods
Datura (Datura spp.) has many names: moonflower, jimsom weed, angel trumpet or devil’s trumpet – and is sometimes confused with trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Datura grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, depending on the variety. Some varieties of daura are considered common weeds that reproduce freely. To control the chosen cultivar you grow, it is important to know when to pick the seeds from your datura plant.
You can watch for the seed pods to ripen and gather them from the plant as the cracks develop. Timing is crucial when you gather seed pods in this manner. An easier solution is to tie a small paper bag around the seed pod once it starts turning brown. The seeds will drop into the bag once the pod ripens and splits open. Simply cut the stem and remove bag and all. Open the bag and remove the seeds. Separate the chaff from the seeds.
Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years, and published a variety of e-books and articles on gardening, small business and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.
Call it what you will – hairy bittercress, winter bittercress, hairy cress, popping cress – Cardamine hirsuta – is a weed that tries the most forgiving gardener’s patience. Growing worldwide (except in the Antarctic, this genus of the Brassicaceae family numbers more than 150 species, both annual and perennial. The plant is self-pollinating and in bloom throughout the year. It loves moist soil and grows aggressively under those conditions.
As the snow melts, tiny white, pink, or lavender flowers begin to appear. Yes, flowers. This tenacious weed is short-lived, which is good, you say. A life cycle of 6 weeks doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Think again – how many 6-week cycles are there in a year?
One of the biggest problems with bittercress is that, by the time you discover you have a problem, it’s almost too late to do anything about it. The first flowers appear in late February or early March, quickly form seed pods, and mature. If you touch those trigger-happy seed pods, i t’s all over – the pods explode, distributing seeds over an area up to 36 inches around each plant. Those seeds will germinate and begin sprouting with a few days and the cycle begins again, only over a larger area. Small to medium size plants produce about 600 seeds, and larger plants can yield up to 1,000 seeds.
Hairy bittercress is not invasive enough to warrant using herbicides. As soon as new plants appear in February or March, begin pulling them; these are the offspring of the previous fall’s seed crop. Through the season, always pull the seedlings when you see them; they have shallow roots and come away quite easily; however, bits of root left behind are capable of re-rooting under optimum conditions. The key is to get the plants before they set seed, which happens quickly after blooming. Eradicating this weed from large areas is almost impossible, unless you can hoe and remove. Keeping bittercress out of the flower beds is a little easier, but requires diligent hand-weeding to stay ahead of the seed formation. The leaves release a pungent aroma when bruised.
(This article was originally published on March 29, 2010. Your comments are welcome but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions or comments.)
Spring is in the air, little green things are popping up all over, and we all heave a sigh of relief that the blanket of white stuff is finally gone. But beneath the snow that stopped everything in its tracks lurks a hardy, robust little puff of tiny green leaves that virtually grows before your eyes.
Hairy bittercress is a problem in greenhouses and nurseries, so be sure to clear off the top 2 to 3 inches of soil before planting anything you purchase. Scoop the soil into a plastic bag and dis card. Keep a close watch on newly planted containers, especially those that are positioned near flower beds. The propulsion factor of bittercress seeds can sneak new plants into your containers while you aren’t looking. Hairy bittercress is a real problem near flagstone patios or walks, brick work, or any hard-scaping that has space between the pieces. This weed does not need much to set down roots – even a small amount of sand between two bricks is plenty.